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Re: [ontolog-forum] Two ontologies that are inconsistent but both needed

To: "Conklin, Don" <don.conklin@xxxxxxxx>, Kathryn Blackmond Laskey <klaskey@xxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx
From: "Smith, Barry" <phismith@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 10:37:28 -0600
Message-id: <20070613163743.4F961109699@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
At 10:12 AM 6/13/2007, Conklin, Don wrote:
>OK, I just have to bite on this one...
>Most of what we encounter in the "real" world are concepts. My driver's
>license may be a physical artifact of the type document, but the
>statutes that specify its contents are themselves concepts within a
>conceptual system of laws. Even my height is specified in conceptual
>units (has anyone ever seen the original foot?).    (01)

I strongly recommend that you abandon the use of the word 'concept', 
here. There are sophisticated terminologies for the types of entities 
existing in institutional reality, which maintain a clear distinction 
between e.g. laws and our ideas (concepts, if you insist) of laws.    (02)

But even leaving that aside, in:    (03)

 >[BS] I hope that we all agree that in major, critical, domains, such
 >as medicine or nuclear power generation a good strategy for creating
 >useful models is to seek to find out what the underlying reality is
 >like.    (04)

I did not specify that 'reality' should be restricted to physical reality.
BS    (05)

>As a retired aircraft carrier pilot, I have more respect than most for
>things that can hurt me in the real world. A failed arresting cable
>meant I would go swimming via a (very) short ride on an ejection seat.
>The seat, its occupant and the A-6 Intruder were certainly real.
>Virtually everything else about how they were to be used were concepts.
>The ontologies I work on now try to describe the pertinent concepts for
>its intended use. Only a small subset of the described conceptual
>activities are expected to be realized as events in the real world.
>So 2/3 of the ontology set is concepts, and the last 1/3 physical things
>and events that actually occur in the real world. And even those are
>specifications of the perception of the actual thing and/or event.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Kathryn Blackmond Laskey [mailto:klaskey@xxxxxxx]
>Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2007 12:00 PM
>To: Smith, Barry; [ontolog-forum] ; sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx; Kathryn Blackmond
>Laskey; Conklin, Don
>Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Two ontologies that are inconsistent but
>both needed
>At 9:39 AM -0600 6/13/07, Smith, Barry wrote:
> >[BS] I hope that we all agree that in major, critical, domains, such
> >as medicine or nuclear power generation a good strategy for creating
> >useful models is to seek to find out what the underlying reality is
> >like.
>Of course.
>In a couple of decades of building models of phenomena, many of them
>in major, critical domains, I have come to the conclusion that the
>underlying reality of the world we live in is such that the best,
>most useful models of many phenomena are probabilistic.
>When I say this, I get nods from many engineers who have been in the
>trenches building models. They want to know about technologies for
>building interoperable models.
>But ontologists tell me it is a category error to put probability in
>the ontology, because probability is epistemic and not ontological.
>IMO, is an example of counterproductive pedantry.
>Barry, you caricature Tom Gruber by saying he wants to build
>ontologies of concepts while you're building ontologies of the world.
>That ain't so. Anyone who builds an ontology is specifying a
>conceptualization.  A good ontologist specifies conceptualizations
>that are as true to the structure of the world. But an ontology IS a
>specification of a conceptualization.  It is NOT a specification of
>the reality.  Only God can specify reality.  We can describe reality
>and act in it, but we can't specify it.  We describe reality by
>specifying our conceptualizations of it, arguing over them, refining
>them, and hammering out consensus agreements on them.
>If we bite the bullet and admit that ontologies specify
>conceptualizations [of a domain], then it's easy to argue that
>conceptualizations should be allowed to have probabilities when we
>don't have enough information for a complete specification.  This
>argument makes sense even if we don't think the probabilities
>themselves are ontological.
>Kathy    (06)

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